Singapore's authorities are aiming to make the healthcare system better and have issued a card to 400 residents from lower income families - who hold Blue Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cards - to reduce their medical expenses.

The Income OrangeAid MediCard costs S$10 and is valued up to S$30 for common illnesses such as flu and fever at selected clinics. The card was launched on the same day by insurer NTUC Income and is a fixed value co-pay card.

The card can only be used once by Blue CHAS cardholders only and is not valid at polyclinics. Although there are no limits to how many cards an individual can buy, the GP clinic will collect the card even when the full S$30-value has not been redeemed. It also has a two year expiry date - December 2018.

Blue CHAS cards currently subsidise S$18.50 of fees for common illnesses and with the addition of the MediCard, families could claim up to S$48.50 in medical bills at the 20 participating GP clinics.

Addressing accessibility and cost issues for lower-income families

NTUC employees had funded 550 of these cards in an earlier donation drive and 400 of these cards were distributed to flat residents at Pipit Road on Wednesday by MP Tin Pei Ling, NTUC Income chief executive Ken Ng and other Income employees.

The remaining 150 cards will be given out to the beneficiaries of Income OrangeAid, NTUC's community development and involvement sector.

"We understand that every dollar counts for these families. As such, we are retailing the MediCards at FairPrice Shops which cater to the budget conscious and are partnering with GP clinics near their vicinity to provide greater convenience and accessibility to those in need," said Mr Ng. The MediCard also aims to address accessibility issues, to provide subsidies to those who do not live near a polyclinic.

Mr Ng also stated that there were no concerns about whether the lower-income individuals would over consume medical services with the MediCards as the co-pay feature of the card was developed in mind to discourage overconsumption and to make them more accountable for their own health. MIMS


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